The Election Commission (EC) has been asked to seek the dissolution of the Pheu Thai Party for allegedly allowing ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra to exert his influence over the main opposition party's 600-baht wage hike proposal.
In his petition, Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution, alleged Thaksin had spoken in defence of the proposed wage hike in a live session with the CARE, a breakaway faction consisting of politicians close to the ousted premier, on social media.
The former premier was said to have endorsed the merits of a wage increase in a way that may be construed as casting influence over or dominating the affairs or policies of a political party.
Mr Srisuwan said it is against the organic law on political parties for a party to allow an individual who is a non-member to exert influence or dominance over, or dictate its affairs. The violation is punishable by the dissolution of the party.
If the EC accepts his petition and eventually finds grounds for the allegation, the agency would forward the case to the Constitutional Court, which would decide whether or not to dissolve the party. Thaksin founded the Thai Rak Thai Party before it was dissolved for electoral fraud and then reincarnated into the People's Power Party (PPP), which was also disbanded for electoral fraud.
Pheu Thai then rose from the ashes of the PPP.
Thaksin is the elder brother of Yingluck Shinawatra, also a former prime minister affiliated with Pheu Thai, and father of Paetongtarn "Ung-ing" Shinawatra, the head of the Pheu Thai Family group, who is poised to be nominated for prime minister at the next polls by the party.
The party announced the wage hike, along with a plan to push up the 25,000-baht-a-month entry-level salary for new graduates, on Dec 6. It immediately sparked an outcry, especially from businesses which feared it would trigger a surge in inflation.
The reactions prompted Ms Paetongtarn to explain that the wage hike would not be implemented immediately if and when Pheu Thai becomes the next government. In fact, the party would work to strengthen businesses so they can afford to adopt the policy.
Mr Srisuwan said he believed Thaksin's conversation with the CARE members during the live talk carried enough weight to support his petition.